Some close up views of coho salmon.
Beautiful scales of the coho salmon.
It has been an excellent season fishing for coho salmon on the Olympic Peninsula. On a recent trip, I hooked into a coho that was especially strong and fought well so I knew that it was going to be a big fish. When I landed it, I immediately knew that this was going to be my personal best coho for this year.
The chunky, hook-nose coho buck with big shoulders weighed in at an even 10 lbs. and was 29″ long and had a girth of 17″! According to the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife, local Puget Sound coho range from 6-12 lbs and can be up to 31 lbs. Having caught a 10 pounder, I can’t imagine hooking into a 30 pounder!
The fish was so thick that I decided to cut the salmon into steaks rather than filleting it like I usually do. Unfortunately, I did not own a big butcher knife or butcher bandsaw so the steak cuts were not perfect. Nevertheless, these steaks will be excellent steamed or grilled.
Last week, a friend of mine from Portland invited me to fish with him on the Willamette River close to where it empties into the Columbia River. We were fishing for spring chinook (king) salmon, one of my favorite fish to catch and eat. These fish can get over 20 pounds and their fatty meat is a quite a treat.
Springers, as they are called by the locals, enter fresh water from the ocean in April and May but do not spawn until the fall. Their spawning grounds are located hundreds of miles upstream from the Pacific Ocean. The Willamette is a major tributary of the Columbia River and accounts for 12 to 15 percent of the river’s flow.
On our day of fishing, we encountered periods of sunshine, rain, and wind. All day long, we only saw two fish caught by dozens of boats. Unfortunately, we didn’t get a single bite that day. Maybe next year.